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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU names two new co-directors for food sustainability center

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has named two new co-directors to lead the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems.


Headshot of man
Jay Lillywhite (NMSU photo by Darren Phillps)
Headshot of man
Efren Delgado (NMSU photo by Darren Phillps)

Jay Lillywhite, professor of agribusiness management and marketing, and Efren Delgado, associate professor of food science and technology, have accepted roles to immediately begin serving as co-directors of CESFAS, a hub of transdisciplinary and collaborative research in the College of ACES that facilitates and develops food and value-added agricultural business.

Lillywhite and Delgado succeed Natalie Goldberg and Priscilla Bloomquist, who developed the framework for the CESFAS and oversaw its initial projects.

“Drs. Delgado and Lillywhite will follow the footsteps of the excellent work from Drs. Goldberg and Bloomquist, who started the CESFAS in 2019,” College of ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores said. “The state of New Mexico and NMSU have big goals and aspirations for CESFAS, and the new co-directors have the knowledge and experience needed to make it successful. CESFAS is a catalyst for the value-added research in agriculture that is badly needed in our state.”

Flores said the decision to name two new co-directors came as a result of the college’s desire to enhance the program and build on its success. Delgado will oversee initiatives related to value-added agriculture for food and non-food products, while Lillywhite will focus his research efforts on social sciences, specifically in the economics of sustainable food and agricultural systems.

“Agriculture is an important part of New Mexico’s economy. I am excited to be a part of the Center of Excellence in Food and Agricultural Systems and have the opportunity to work with teams across many disciplines to explore opportunities to help New Mexico’s agricultural economy,” Lillywhite said.

“Through coordinating interdisciplinary research and engaging in technological developments, CESFAS can support economic development in New Mexico. Technologies related to transforming raw materials into value-added products can provide nutritional foods, enhance food safety and consistent quality, reduce food waste and develop products specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of specific subpopulations,” Delgado said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation in 2019 creating the CESFAS and three other Centers of Excellence at higher education institutions in New Mexico. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology houses the Cybersecurity Center of Excellence; San Juan College houses the Center of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Sustainability; and the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center houses the Center of Excellence in bioscience.

For more information about CESFAS, visit https://aces.nmsu.edu/cesfas/index.html.